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Our Dean

portrait of donna young

Donna E. Young

Areas of Expertise

Criminal Law; Employment Law; US Federal Civil Procedure; Antidiscrimination Law and Civil Rights; Critical Race Theory and Feminist Legal Theory; Academic freedom and due process, and university governance; Title IX


B.Sc. University of Toronto, 1987
LL.B. Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, 1991
LL.M. Columbia University School of Law,  1996


Donna E. Young is the Founding Dean of the Lincoln Alexander School of Law. Before assuming her deanship, she was the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy at Albany Law School and a joint faculty member at the University at Albany’s Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her teaching and scholarship focus on law and inequality, race and gender discrimination, and academic freedom and university governance. She has taught courses in Criminal Law, Employment Law; U.S. Federal Civil Procedure; Gender and Work; and Race, Rape Culture, and Law.

Dean Young is much sought after as a speaker and has been invited to present her work at conferences and other venues around the world. She has been a staff member at the American Association of University Professors' (AAUP) Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance, in Washington, D.C. and was a member of the AAUP's Committee A, the preeminent national body setting standards and investigating academic freedom disputes in the United States. She has been a Fellow at Cornell Law School's Gender, Sexuality, and Family Project; a Visiting Scholar at Osgoode Hall Law School's Institute of Feminist Legal Studies; an Associate in Law at Columbia Law School; a Visiting Scholar at the Faculty of Law at Roma Tre University in Rome, Italy; and a consultant to the International Development Law Organization for whom she traveled to Uganda to conduct field research on the relationship between gender inequality and law in the context of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Dean Young's previous professional experiences include articling at Cornish Roland - a labour law firm in Toronto; serving as a consultant with the Ontario Human Rights Commission; and working as a researcher with the NYC Office of Labor Relations. She is admitted to practice in New York State.


2021 canadian law awards winner

Publications (Selected) 

  • In Pursuit of Diversity, Justice and Repair, 44 Thomas Jefferson Law Review, 30 (2021).
  • Black Women, Sexual Violence, and Resistance in the United States, Routledge Companion To Black Women's Cultural Histories (Janell Hobson, Ed., 2021) (with Janell Hobson).
  • Rule of Law, Activism, and Equality: Growing Anti-Subordination Norms Within the Neoliberal University, 50 John Marshall Law Review 249 (2017) (with Peter Halewood).
  • How Law School Rankings Change Legal Education, 103 Academe (AAUP, 2017) Book Review.
  • From the Editor: Race on Campus, 102 Academe (AAUP, 2016).
  • The History, Uses and Abuses of Title IX, American Association of University Professors (co-author) (2016).
  • Domains of Policy: Law & Society Perspectives on Anti-Discrimination, Wiley Handbook of Law and Society (Austin Sarat and Patty Ewick, Eds., 2015).
  • Exploring the Boundaries of Antidiscrimination Law and Equality in the Global Workplace, 21(1) Berkeley La Raza Law Journal 197 (2013).
  • Post Race Posthaste: Towards an Analytical Convergence of Critical Race Theory and Marxism, 1 Columbia Journal of Race and Law 499 (2012).
  • The Constitutional Parameters of New York State’s Domestic Workers Bill of Rights: Balancing the Rights of Workers and Employers, 74 Albany Law Review 1679 (2010/2011).
  • To the Stars Through Difficulties: The Legal Construction of Private Space in the Wizard of Oz, 20 Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal 135 (2010).
  • The Jurisprudence of Vulnerability: Property Rights, Domestic Violence and HIV/AIDS Among Women in Uganda, 9 International Review of Constitutionalism 327 (Penelope Andrews, Ed.) (2009).
  • Defining Race Through Law: Enforcing the Social Norms of Power and Privilege, 72 Albany Law Review 1041 (2009) (symposium).
  • Hurricane Katrina, OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY, (Paul Finkelman, Editor) (Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • Working Across Borders: Global Restructuring and Women's Work, 2001 Utah Law Review 1 (2001).
  • Racial Releases, Involuntary Separations and Employment At-Will, 34 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 351 (2001).
  • Litigating Labor Rights, 94 ASIL (American Society of International Law) Proc. 151 (Panel summary) (2000). 
  • Critical Race Theory: A Comparative Approach, 91 ASIL (American Society of International Law) Proc. 423 (1997).
  • Culture Confronts the International, 60 Albany Law Review 907 (1997).  
  • Introduction to Part I: Portrayals of Feminism in the Media, feminism, law and the media (Martha Fineman and Martha McCluskey eds., Oxford University Press, 1997).
  • Two Steps Removed: The Paradox of Diversity Discourse For Women of Color in Law Teaching, 11 Berkeley Women's Law Journal (1996) 2 African American Law and Policy Report (1996).

Conference Presentations and Speaking Engagements (Selected)

  • The Sentencing and Parole Project Fundraising Gala, Ontario Bar Association, (Keynote Speaker), September 23, 2022
  • Future of Human Rights in Ontario, Human Rights @ 60 Conference, Ontario Human Rights Commission, Toronto Metropolitan University's Human Rights Services and Lincoln Alexander School of Law, (Keynote Speaker), June 23, 2022
  • A People's Tribunal: Every Woman's Right to Speak Free from Online Hate, Informed Opinions, (Panel Speaker), June 14, 2022
  • Disrupting the Status Quo, Ontario Public Supervisory Officers' Association Annual Conference, (Keynote Speaker), May 13, 2022
  • Council of Canadian Administrative Tribunals 2022 Symposium, (Speaker), May 5, 2022
  • Canada's Place on the World Stage, Lincoln Alexander School of Law, (Opening Remarks), April 28, 2022
  • An Evening with Women Judges, Canadian Chapter of the International Association of Women Lawyers, (Opening Remarks), March 10, 2022
  • Black Law Students' Association of Canada, National Conference, (Keynote Speaker), February 20, 2022
  • Championing Change, Women in Law Summit, (Keynote Speaker), February 17, 2022.
  • Black Professionals Leadership Program, University of Victoria, Faculty of Law (Keynote Speaker), February 15, 2022.
  • EDI Strategic Toolkit: Evaluating Organizational Inclusion, Law Society of Ontario and Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, (Speaker), February 10, 2022.
  • Remembering Lincoln Alexander & Martin Luther King Jr., Afro Canadian Caribbean Association, (Keynote Speaker), January 16, 2022.
  • The Present and Future of Global Legal Studies, Global Law Schools' Summit at O.P. Jindal Global University, (Distinguished Speaker), December 1-3, 2021.
  • How to Drive Change in the Workplace, RODA-OBA Diversity Conference, (Speaker), November 24, 2021.
  • Facing Resistance Speaker Series: How to Transform the Justice System and Create Social Change, Level, (panelist), November 23, 2021.
  • Second Annual "State & Future of Canada Post-Pandemic" National Conference, 21st Century Questions and Global Brief Magazine, (panelist), November 15, 2021.
  • Integrating Critical Race Theory into the Curriculum of Canada's Law Schools and Reimagining Legal Education with an EDI Lens, Lincoln Alexander School of Law, (panelist), November 13, 2021.
  • Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) Chapter Virtual Launch, Lincoln Alexander School of Law (Welcome remarks), September 9, 2021.
  • Black Futures: “Where are the Black People? Under-representation in the Academy”, (Guest Speaker), July 5, 2021
  • Integrated Practice Curriculum, Benchers of the Law Society of Alberta Retreat, (Guest Speaker), June 3, 2021
  • Girl Up for Women in Law, Girl Up Mississauga, (Guest Speaker), May 28, 2021.
  • Webcast Future of the Canadian Legal Industry - Deloitte Legal Panel Spotlight Episode, Deloitte, (Panelist), May 13, 2021.
  • 4th Annual Women in Law - Steps to Success: Building the Foundation and Finding the Right Mentor(s), The Toronto Lawyers Association, (Guest Speaker), May 13, 2021.
  • St. Elizabeth Catholic High School - Alliance for Racial Equity, (Guest Speaker), April 7, 2021.
  • 2021 Women and the Law Conference, Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL), (Panel Commenter), April 2, 2021.
  • "Black History Month Program 2021: A Strategy Toolkit for BIPOC Inclusion", Law Society of Ontario and Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL), (Panelist), February 25, 2021.
  • "Generous Futures: Black Voices Leading", Toronto Metropolitan University, (Moderator), February 24, 2021.
  • Law and Leadership - "A conversation on Leadership Law", Ryerson Women in Leadership and Ryerson Women in Law, (Panelist), February 11, 2021.
  • Lincoln Alexander Law's Black History Month "Celebrating Trailblazers in Canada's Legal Community", Toronto Metropolitan University and Ryerson's Black Law Students Association, (Speaker), February 11, 2021.
  • 17th Annual Marlee Kline Lecture in Social Justice, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia, (Speaker), February 8, 2021.
  • Lincoln Alexander Law and Business Conference, Law and Business Student Association, (Speaker), February 6, 2021.
  • LIVE Webinar | Empowered Black Women in Law, Norton Rose Fullbright LLP, (Panelist), December 3, 2020.
  • Black Female Lawyers Network: 14th Annual Sistahs-in-Law Retreat and Fundraiser, (Keynote Speaker), November 11, 2020.
  • After the Pandemic - The State and Future of Canada, 21CQ/GB National Conference, (Panelist), October 24, 2020.
  • Panel: "A Lawyer's Introduction to the Fall and Potential Rise of Liberal Constitutional Democracy", Toronto Metropolitan University, (Panelist), October 20, 2020.
  • Panel: "Pandemic Pivot: Lessons Learned and New Possibilities for Legal Education", Federation of Canadian Law Societies, (Panelist for the discussion "The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on A2J, A2LS and the Digitalization of Legal Services), October 14, 2020.
  • Forum: Diversity on the Bench, Hosted by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, (Panel Moderator), September 17, 2020.
  • Black Lives Matter, State Power and the Breaking of the Social Contract, Toronto Metropolitan University, (Panel Moderator), June 18, 2020.
  • Seminar Project: Pop-up Art Exhibit commemorating the 170th Anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery, (Co-Organizer/Panelist), November 22, 2019.
  • From Panopticism to Optimism: Re-imagining (Class) Freedom, Annual ClassCrits Conference, Western New England School of Law, (Panelist), November 15, 2019.
  • Plenary Session "Valuing Women's Leadership and Success, Women in Higher Education, University at Albany, (Speaker), October 11, 2019.
  • Literary Imaginations of Afro-Women’s Writing of the African Diasporas in a Comparative Perspective, 7th Biannual Conference of the Afroeuropeans Network: “Afroeuropeans: Black In/Visibilities Contested, Lisbon, Portugal, (Panelist), July 4, 2019.
  • An Author-Meets-Readers Colloquy, on Prof. Tanya Hernández's book, Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed Race Stories of Discrimination, Law and Society Conference, Washington, DC, (Panelist), May 31, 2019. 
  • Know Your Rights Discussion, Green Street Community Arts Center sponsored by Albany Law School’s BLSA and the Albany Community Police Review Board, (Panelist), April 27, 2019.
  • Title IX Revisited, National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education, CUNY Graduate Center, NY, (Panelist), April 8, 2019. 
  • Book Session: Henry Reichman, The Future of Academic Freedom, National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education, CUNY Graduate Center, NYC, (Panelist), April 8, 2019. 
  • An Author-Meets-Readers Colloquy, on Prof. Tanya Hernández's book, Multiracials and Civil Rights: Mixed Race Stories of Discrimination, 4th National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference: People of Color and the Future of Democracy, (Panelist), March 22, 2019. 
  • Regulating Harassment in the Academy, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, (Luncheon Keynote Speaker), March 6, 2019. 
  • Remarks on Black History Month, James Campbell Matthews Banquet, BLSA, Albany Law School, (Keynote Speaker), March 2, 2019.
  • Remarks on the MeToo Movement, Nellie Bly Award for Investigative Reporting, The Museum of Political Corruption, Albany, NY, (Panelist), November 29, 2018.
  • MeToo: The Legal Story, Women@Work Summit, Times Union’s Hearst Media Center Albany, NY, (Keynote Speaker), June 15, 2018.
  • Race Hate: The New Normal?, NEPOC/CAPALF Conference, Albany Law School, (Co-organizer/Panelist), May 31-June 1, 2018.
  • Imagining Slavery, Envisioning Freedom: A Symposium on the 30th Anniversary of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, UAlbany/Albany Law School, (Co-organizer and Panelist), April 26-27, 2018.
  • Academic Freedom in Trying Times, 45th Annual National Conference: Facing New Realities in Higher Education and the Professions, CUNY, (Panelist), April 16, 2018.
  • The #MeToo Movement Must “Say Her Name”: Law Reform and Activism at the Intersection of Race and Gender, Touro Law School, Black Law Students Association Gala, (Keynote Speaker), March 29, 2018.
  • Bail – Are there Better Alternatives?, 2018 Warren M. Anderson Legislative Breakfast Seminar Series, Government Law Center, Albany Law School, (Panelist), February 16, 2018.
  • Advancement of African Americans? Are We Stuck in the Sunken Place?: Critical Race Theory Analysis/Inclusion of Movie Get Out, 50th Annual Regional Convention of the Northeast Black Law Students Association in Albany, NY, (Panelist), January 26, 2018.
  • Truth is Stronger than Lies, Women's March, Albany, NY, (One of Keynote Speakers), January 20, 2018.
  • Developing the Relationship Between Administration and Faculty, University of Pennsylvania Center for Minority Serving Institutions Aspiring Leaders Conference, (Panelist), November 17, 2017.
  • “Birthright: A War Story” - A Screening of the Documentary, Madison Theater, Albany, NY, (Panelist), September 28, 2017.
  • The Trump Presidency and Higher Education, AAUP Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., (Panelist), June 14, 2017.
  • Revisiting Race on Campus, AAUP Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., (Chair/Panelist), June 14, 2017.
  • Working Under Trump: The State of Labor & Employment under the Trump Administration, Albany Law School Labor & Employment Law Society, OUTLaw, and Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA), Albany Law School, (Panelist), April 12, 2017.
  • There's No More Denying Campus Rape Is a Problem, Critical Issues in Higher Education Conference, SUNYCON, New York, NY, (Panelist), October 27, 2016.
  • Precarity Power and Purpose in Higher Education, SALT 2016 Teaching Conference, John Marshall Law School, Chicago, (Panelist), September 29, 2016.
  • Neoliberalism in the Academy: Faculty Governance, Downsizing & Diversity, Northeast People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference 2016, "Confronting the Violence of Our Times," Touro Law Center & Ron Brown Center of SJU Law, (Panelist), May 21-22, 2016.
  • Commencement Speaker, UAlbany, Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, May 15, 2016.
  • Say Her Name: Law Reform and Activism at the Intersection of Race and Gender 2nd Annual Katheryn D. Katz ’70 Memorial Lecture, Albany Law School, (Keynote Speaker), April 12, 2016.
  • Forum on Academic Freedom, UAlbany, Committee on Academic Freedom, Freedom of Expression, and Community Responsibility (CAFFECoR) of the University Senate, and the Albany Chapter of United University Professions, University at Albany, (Panelist), March 25, 2016.
  • The Impact of Pacific Lutheran on Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance in Religious Educational Environments​, Northeast Pennsylvania AAUP Alliance, Best Practices in Higher Education: Grounding Priorities in the Common Good, Misericordia University, (Speaker/Presenter), February 27, 2016.
  • Criminal Justice Reform: Making Courts Work for Our Community, 45th Annual Legislative Conference, NYS Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, (Panelist), February 13, 2016.
  • The 60 Most Inspiring Influential Women of Toronto, View the Vibe (2021)
  • University of Toronto / University College Alumni of Influence (2021)
  • Canadian Law Awards - Female Trailblazer of the Year, Academia/General Counsel (2021)
  • Top 25 Women of Influence™ Award (2021)
  • Keynote Speaker, 17th Annual Marlee Kline Lecture in Social Justice, Peter A. Allard School of Law (2021)
  • Kate Stoneman Award, Albany Law School (2021)
  • Toronto Life’s 50 Most Influential List – New Arrivals (2020)
  • Keynote Speaker, Women@Work Summit, Times Union’s Hearst Media Center (2018)
  • Keynote Speaker, Touro Law School BLSA Gala (2018)
  • Commencement Speaker, University at Albany, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (2016)
  • Keynote Speaker, 2nd Annual Katheryn D. Katz ’70 Memorial Lecture, Albany Law School (2016)
  • Faculty Excellence in Service Award, Albany Law School (2014)
  • Lawyers of Color 50 Under 50 List (2014)
  • Black Law Students Association’s 2013 John H. Higgins Alumni Award, Albany Law School (2013)
  • Commencement Speaker, University at Albany, Department of Africana Studies (2011)
Degree Institution Year
B.Sc. University of Toronto 1987
LL.B. Osgoode Hall Law School of York University 1991
LL.M. Columbia University School of Law 1996
  • Member, Advisory Board, Academe
  • Member, Board of Directors, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation
  • Member, Worldwide Commission to Educate All Kids (Post-Pandemic)
  • American Association of University Professors
  • ClassCrits
  • Law and Society Association
  • National Women’s Studies Association
  • Society of American Law Teachers